Courts of Limited Jurisdiction in Montana are City Courts, Justice Courts, and Municipal Courts. There are (84) City Courts, (61) Justice Courts, and (6) Municipal Courts in the State of Montana.
In 2011 there were a total of 112 Limited Jurisdiction Court Judges. Numerous judges serve as both Justice of the Peace and City Judges.
City Court Judges may be elected or appointed. Justice and Municipal Court Judges are elected, unless appointed to fill a vacated position. All Limited Jurisdiction Court Judges serve four-year terms. City Court and Justice Court Judges are not required to be attorneys; Municipal Court Judges must be attorneys.
All Limited Jurisdiction Court Judges must attend two Montana Supreme Court training conferences each year. They are required to pass a Certification Exam at the beginning of each term. Failure to attend a training conference or pass the examination creates a vacancy in the Judge's office.
Although the jurisdiction of these courts differs slightly, collectively they address cases involving misdemeanor offenses, civil cases for amounts up to $12,000.00 landlord/tenant disputes, local ordinances, forcible entry and detainer, protection orders, certain issues involving juveniles, and other matters. Justice Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear Small Claims cases not exceeding $7,000.00.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction have a total caseload nearly 10 times greater than that of the District Courts in Montana. Courts of Limited Jurisdiction are the courts in which most Montanans seeking justice will encounter the justice system.